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Letters to the Editor - Jan. 13, 2014

  • Written by Readers

Riverview School District levies

I am writing to ask Riverview voters to vote YES for Riverview Schools on February 11th.

In our district we’re seeing:

• Annual yearly (academic) progress as required by federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

• Rising SAT, ACT, PSAT, MSP, EDL, HSPE, AP and other test scores.

• State and national recognition: Recently one of 77 districts in North America to be named two years in a row to the College Board AP Honor Roll for expanding opportunity and improving performance of AP students.

• Dropout rates among lowest in the state, 1.2 percent-3.8 percent over 20 years; graduation rates among the highest in the state.

• Record numbers of students receiving scholarships for post high school education.

• A broad spectrum of academic programs, including programs for remediation and gifted students.

• Increasing student participation in music, activities, the arts, athletics, and other programs.

• Increased community support, in past elections, and by taking an active part in our school buildings.

• Growing numbers of community partnerships in academics, the arts, career and technical education, activities, and athletics.

In order to continue this success, Riverview School District is asking voters to approve two tax measures on February 11th.

• To renew the 4-year Educational Programs Maintenance and Operations Levy for basic educational operations of schools,

• Renewal of the 4-year Technology Capital Projects Levy for educational technology and facility repairs.

The Educational Program Maintenance & Operations levy provides close to 23 percent of our district’s budget. If this levy fails, we won’t be cutting "extras." We will be making painful cuts to programs and staff. Instead of building on our success, we will be dismantling innovative and successful programs.

Washington state does not directly fund technology in our schools, yet the state does write standards for technology in education.

Renewing the technology levy will fund technology for classrooms, labs, and district operations. It will also fund ongoing maintenance and support for this technology infrastructure. I know our community places a high value on technology in the classrooms.

I trust you share my view that a quality education is an investment, not an expense. I ask you to vote YES for Riverview Schools on February 11th.

Greg Bawden

Riverview School District Board of Directors

Snoqualmie Valley

food banks

For the last ten years I’ve been involved in the running of a food bank in Carnation; we feed around 200 families, (about 700 people), a week, and seem to be one of the very few food banks that serve everyone who comes to our door without question … no ID needed … no must show proof of area residence … no personal information required.

We are also one of the only food banks that feed the homeless – no questions asked … and we are very much an "All You Can Eat" food bank …

Since being founded over 38 years ago this food bank has operated in several locations in the Snoqualmie Valley, moving to our present building seven years ago.

During all these years of operation this service to the needy has been very generously sponsored by the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, even when they as a people had nothing they were always there, supporting this public food bank as a community service, in fact this food bank was founded by a Snoqualmie Tribal member.

The reason I’m writing this is not to pat the Tribe and we volunteers who work here on the back for many years of a job well done – although they all certainly deserve it. The reason I’m writing this piece is that this long time service to East King County is tentatively ending, as we have been told that our funding from our primary sponsor, including the use of our building and truck will cease at the end of this year (2013).

We are heart-broken! and are searching for a replacement space and funding – but we weren’t given much warning and time is short … This is a disaster! – Not only for our food bank but more so for the entire lower Snoqualmie Valley!

We occupy a very critical spot in the whole "help" grid in East King County that many not involved in the system may not be aware of.

A large portion of our clients can not, (or will not), be served at the other major food banks in the area. They have been turned away because they can’t meet those food bank’s "requirements for food bank registration," including – a valid current photo ID … proof of current address and residency, (utility bill or bank statement) … current income, (or lack of income) information. … if you do not have the information they request – or even do have the information but don’t meet their requirements – They Will Not Serve You!!!

We ask for nothing – no ID or personal information required … this food bank was founded on the principle that we would do nothing to impugn our clients dignity, self-respect or right to privacy … we are here to help people – not to gather information…

Without us there are very few places in this part of King County that many of these people can go for help. Of the three large food banks in NE King County, one in North Bend – one other in Carnation, and us, (The Snoqualmie Tribe Public Food Bank), we are the only one that has no registration requirements or restrictions … we feed everybody!

The others turn people, (who do not meet their "qualifications"), away – simply going to their websites can verify this. In fact, both of these food banks send the people they will not serve to us, as they are quite aware we have no restrictions on who we help.

I’m not writing this to put anybody down – I’m not a confronting or controversial person, however, I will say that my observation is that one of the main reasons for this information gathering disaster at some food banks is the guidelines, or these food bank’s understanding of the guidelines set up by the USDA "Emergency Food Assistance Program," I believe administered in this state by DSHS.

Our food bank has refused to sign up for "food assistance" because of the qualifying requirements our clients would have to meet … Not only are they intrusive – but they make the food bank experience into an upsetting and uncomfortable process; many who come to food banks are already at risk, why make it worse?

Because these food banks comply with what they see as the information gathering requirements that come with signing up for the "food assistance," (commodities), program, they just go ahead and have everybody who comes in for the food bank "register," and if they don’t have the information or even do but don’t qualify – Too Bad! … No Food For You!!!

What is not realized is that there is food other than that from "food assistance" that comes into these same food banks, lots of it! It comes from groups like Northwest Harvest or Food Lifeline – or maybe direct donations from small businesses and corporations – maybe it’s just a bag of groceries that somebody drops off at a food drive that ends up at that same food bank, these donations are also being kept from those who "don’t qualify" … I suspect that most people who donate food don’t put restrictions on who gets it – in fact – I’ve been very involved in the food bank thing for quite a few years now – and nobody’s come in to any food bank I’ve been working at yet and made a donation with a list of whom they didn’t want their food to go to.

Here in East King County, just 20 miles from the Microsoft campus, you’d be amazed to know how many people are below the poverty level, but you’d be far more amazed to know how many people live below that!

People who live in old vans and cars in a friend’s back yard – or in the woods – even in tents, and it’s cold up here.

We help these people – they come to us for food and clothing – no questions asked – no ID or paperwork needed.They can’t get served at other food banks, but you know what? They still get hungry!

Most people aren’t even aware of food banks except on Thanksgiving and Christmas when they show them on TV – but we are here all year … Going Full Tilt!!!

We are HOPE for many of the families we serve … some are people who get their entire nutrition for the week from our food bank – who because of their situation can’t get help elsewhere in the area … We MUST be here to help them … this food bank MUST survive!

But even if we can’t save our food bank and we are forced to close … this is a wrong in the food distribution system and must be righted…

Fred Vosk, lead volunteer – Snoqualmie Tribe PUBLIC Food Bank

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